Most women who finally make the decision to embrace their natural hair are excited about their journey. They transition from relaxed hair or do the big chop and they couldn’t be happier. However, there is a small minority of women who make the decision to go natural, but don’t like what they see in the mirror once they reveal their natural strands.
Mad Men actress, Teyonah Parris, was one of those women when she made the decision to stop relaxing her hair. She recently told the Huffington Post that she transitioned from relaxed hair to natural hair once she saw a woman on the street with beautiful coils. She too wanted that same hair and thus her natural hair journey began.
What Parris wasn’t prepared for was the toll her natural hair journey would take on her emotions. For her, embracing her natural hair was less about being trendy and more about self acceptance. When she saw her true natural self in the mirror for the first time, she cried because it was not what she had known to be beautiful.
Reading Parris’ article in the Huffington Post truly made me think. When I decided to big chop 10 years ago, I did so because I was tired of being a slave to a relaxer. My scalp was always scabbed or had sores after the relaxer was applied. After 7 years of torture, I had enough. I didn’t even know what my hair would look like in its natural state, but I didn’t care. I just wanted a healthy head of hair and a healthy scalp.
When I saw my own naturla hair for the first time, I thought “Wow, this is amazing! How can anyone not want to do this?” I felt so free and light. I felt like I just took a boulder off of my shoulders. To me, it was gorgeous. On the other hand, after reading Parris’ interview, I can certainly understand how someone could not perceive their hair as beautiful. After all, we have been conditioned to think for many years that our God given hair is something bad, something that should be hidden with relaxers, hot combs, and flat irons.
Instead of judging Parris, I sympathize with her. How can the natural hair community blame her for not accepting her natural kinks and coils immediately? Even though it would be awesome for every transitioner to fully embrace their natural hair from the start, it has to be understood that not everyone will. For some, it will be an emotional journey that will begin on the inside and not on top of their heads.
How did you feel when you saw your natural hair for the first time?